Wildlife authorities in New Jersey are asking for the general public’s assist as they examine the reason for mysterious lesions displaying up on northern redbelly turtles in southern components of the state.

In a photograph posted to social media, the lesions seem as darkish, bubbly splotches on the underside of a turtle’s namesake shell.

They first appeared final summer season in a number of ponds in Salem County, in response to Larry Hajna, a spokesperson for the New Jersey Division of Environmental Safety (NJDEP).

Authorities don’t know but if the lesions are cropping up on turtles once more this yr, he informed Fox Information, as a result of a mix of the cooler spring and the COVID-19 outbreak have hampered surveillance efforts thus far this season.

“It was there final yr, might be again this yr,” Hajna stated.

And authorities do not know what’s inflicting the lesions, he added.

CREEPY WOLF SPIDER HATCHLINGS SEEN IN US FISH & WILDLIFE PHOTO

So that they’re asking for the general public’s assist finding extra examples. By casting a wider web, investigators may additionally decide whether or not the situation is confined to only these ponds in Salem or whether it is extra intensive.

The NJDEP is asking anybody who finds an stricken turtle, whether or not it’s a redbelly or one other species, to report its location, the entire variety of turtles seen and another related observations — corresponding to whether or not the animals are exhibiting irregular habits, the circumstances of close by water and if there are useless fish or amphibians close by.

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Redbellies vary in dimension from round 10 to 16 inches, making them the biggest basking turtle of their space, in response to the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife’s web site. Because the title implies, they’ve red-shelled bellies. From the highest, their shells are normally darkish.

They often stay round ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, ditches and brackish marshes, in response to authorities, and they’re lively between March and October.